I just discovered a blog entry I never published. At the time, I was settling into a new job. It’s ironic that I find it almost exactly one year later when I’m looking for a new position. The blog entry was in draft mode and is dated 7/18/16:
“Since the first day at my new job in Boston, I’ve missed the 5:07 train twice. The express follows thirty minutes later but regardless, both were on a Friday. Last week, I still managed to get to an early movie with my girlfriend. Tonight I decided to manage my blog and hang out with you fine people.
I just updated the settings on my site and took a few photos to share with you:
My new gym membership – 150 steps
I didn’t “run” the steps this evening but walking up still left me winded.
My new best friends
I leave my stilettos at the office and rely on Merrill street shoes for the commute.
Commuter rail train
Arrival of the train is always a welcome sight to the Sheldon Cooper in me!
Thanks for joining. I know I’m not sitting here alone.
This Friday night I’m with my 1,000+ followers. Thanks for hanging out with me!”
What are you scheduled to do this weekend?
I don’t usually sleep on the train but sometimes I force myself to take a nap and shut out the busy day and people around me…
I close my eyes and listen to the comings and goings as I drift off to lala land. The end of conversations from the new arrivals are an eavesdropping point of interest, as they find their seats away from one another. The train whistle I’ve learned to drown out is a welcome charging sound into my dream. The train rumbles over the crossings and I enter into New York City’s polar opposite, the city that always sleeps. It’s a great place to spend time. I never know who I’m going to meet or what we’ll talk about in our bustling little world.
My subconscious helps me relax and tells a story just like the one I drifted from…
Throwback to being a younger Mom with a million things to do and not enough time for half of them.
My heart went out to the young woman I just saw running for the train. She had a bag wrapped around the front of her, a briefcase in one hand, a folded umbrella stroller in the other and oh yeah, a large infant strapped to her back. A woman trying to make it all work and not finding time for herself. I was tired for overloaded her as she actually managed to jump on the train.
I still have a million things to do but I am making time for myself – and hoping my girls will never be too old for a piggy-back.
Yesterday I felt fine. I left work with a fellow new employee and we chatted our way to Park Street. We continued our conversation standing on the red line. I was in front of a young man with dread locks as long as he was tall. His stop arrived first and I heard in my ear, “excuse me, Sweetheart!”. I gushed a surprised ‘you’re welcome’, ‘thank you’ and something about turning 50. I noticed the crosses around his neck as he walked by and wished we had time to talk.
Today I feel miserable. I left work with a summer cold and a resting bitch face (RBF). I didn’t even want to look in anyone’s direction all the way to the underground. When I sat on the subway car behind the driver I noticed he looked as tired as I felt. He couldn’t shut the door because someone was on his first step asking directions and I thought in my head, “are you kidding me?”, “its rush hour?!” and something about the four foot tall wall map behind her. I noticed she was my daughter’s age but still wished she’d just stop talking.
I’m quickly becoming a more seasoned commuter. I already have standards and expectations related to what services my ticket should provide. Between last night and this morning, I identified three city traveler, not necessarily basic needs, but very reasonable wants.
Even though I’m taking public transportation, I want and expect a certain modicum of privacy. Especially when I’m on the quiet train car directly behind the engine. So busy body lady, if you have an issue with the guy who answered his cell phone only to tell his daughter he was almost there for pick up, take it up with him not me. I’m on the quiet train and I want more disruptive you to shut up.
I want the city to issue entertainment permits on a daily basis for the stations I frequent. I was introduced to the Porter Square players, and others within the underground world, as a daily occurrence. Therefore, I expected to hear someone there again today. I enjoy my concerts down under and find them to be a valuable service for the city to allow. The music makes my heart happy and I am giving up heart and soul to be here.
My third of three want list items is just good business sense.If there are 8 train cars arriving to pick me up, I expect them all to be in working order. Don’t send two darkened train cars down the line and expect me to triple up with my fellow passengers. We were already getting to know one another in an up close and personal manner. I want to be able to sit down in Cambridge to do my thing, whatever that may be, and get up in Boston ready to start my professional day.
I understand that these aren’t all necessarily controllable but I want what I want. I do have standards, ya know.
I see a newspaper man every morning and evening as I enter and depart the subway station. I don’t know if he’s there all day or if the papers in his hand are sold or given away. I’ve never seen anyone take one or exchange money with him. Everyone herds right past to enter the morning turnstiles or continue their way home at night.
This evening, I knew I’d have an extra few minutes before the commuter train arrived. So, after walking up my steps
and getting to the Mezanine, I caught my breath as I also caught up with this curious guy.
We had a nice talk as he explained his schedule. For a month now, I’d noticed no change to his expression amongst all the hustle and bustle. Tonight his demeanor and laugh were brighter than the skylights. I now know the cost of a smile, the paper and his commission. I bought one simply because I considered him the entertainment section.
With our moment in time, less than a minute, I also learned his name. As I walked toward my ride home, the grin on my face only took a second. I smirked because I’d already given my new Porter Square acquaintance a nickname.
Tomorrow morning before I head into the subway, I’ll say hello to my newspaper guy, Harold.
Note to self:
Do not hold onto the subway stair rails.
I’m an auditor by trade. Risk assessments, critical paths and determining “worst case scenarios” are what I do best. This Monday morning, after deciding for the first time to get additional rest on the train (despite coming off a 4-day weekend), I determined my worst case scenario was falling asleep on the commuter rail. It’s a very safe environment and I was riding to the end of the line. Being compromised or missing my stop were low risks and therefore, not a concern.
In hindsight, one can always learn from these types of drills. I’ll start with the positives: fellow commuters let you do your own thing and respect your space, neck pillows really are comfortable for resting in transit, moms watch out for one another. On the flip side, I did not wake up when I hit the end of the line. Lessons learned for next time (if there is one) include setting an alarm for the trains scheduled arrival, being coherent enough to thank the last departing passenger (an Asian mom with two in tow) for waking me up and doing a sleep study to determine if I snore.
After wiping the sleep from my eyes and buying my monthly pass at North Station, I picked up the rainy green line for a straight shot to the office. I was pulled from my novel landscape when the one I was sitting in came to a standstill at Park Street. My powers of observation told me it was a disabled, wheel-chair bound man trying to make his way onto the already crowded train. His path was more critical than my own as he told people where and how to step aside, so that he could maneuver his chair into the handicapped section of the subway car. He was headed to Mass General Hospital (MGH). My worst case scenario was nothing compared to this person having to navigate the underground during a rainy rush hour. My newest concern was for him and as far as trades go, I did not want to switch places with him.
On the train into work this morning, a woman asked if she could sit before she joined me. Others just plop their ass down. Her manners were a pleasant surprise since conversation is minimal on public transportation. I was going to provide more than a response but noticed she was also trying to get her two young girls settled. The kids ended up in a triple seat directly across from us. When the conductor arrived for their tickets, my new seat mate was excited for the money exchange. That’s not a typical female reaction unless shoes or fine jewelry are involved. She also asked the conductor if her family could take a picture. “It’s our first time on a train!”, she announced excitedly as she snapped her photo. What a joy to experience this family on my scheduled early morning train.
On the subway out of town this Friday evening, the green line was packed. Nobody said anything as we all grabbed for a handle or GYN-inspired strap before the train took off. I was suddenly glad to be somewhat tall and not have an armpit in my face. I also wondered what these rides would be like in a hotter July or August?. I endured my two stops wishing my way to the cleaner, faster uncrowded red line so I could just meet my train.
It wasn’t long before I remembered the phrase, “be careful what you wish for”.
Yes, I was in my own air conditioned clean seat but the train hesitated between
Minutes passed quickly as my commuter rail departure time approached. I got off the subway at 5:14 trying to catch a 5:07.
Sonofabitch! I missed my scheduled train and have to wait another half hour on a Friday night.
It’s not a thrill like this morning but it doesn’t REALLY bother me. I decided to just sit down and finish this entry for you fine people.
Who will you be with this weekend?